It might have been hard to believe – in a good way – when the show first debuted, but The League is entering its seventh (and final) season. Back in 2009 when it premiered, the idea of a sitcom revolving around fantasy football was a shaky construct. In instances like this, the only way to make it work is to have an incredibly gifted cast that could make adjustable-rate mortgages funny, and show creators (and real-life husband and wife) Jeff and Jackie Schaffer were blessed with arguably the best ensemble they could have possibly asked for.
All this time later, while the show has gotten progressively more absurd, at its base it’s still the same – a bunch of friends taking a fantasy league way too seriously, and as we’ve seen over the past seven years, plenty of people do that.
Uproxx Sports had the chance to speak with Steve Rannazzisi, who plays Kevin, about the show’s final season, Jason Mantzoukas’ (Rafi’s) ridiculous laugh, what it’s like to be constantly asked for fantasy advice, and more.
Martin Rickman: It’s the last season coming up. What should we expect? Is it bittersweet knowing the show is coming down to those last episodes?
Steve Rannazzisi: It is sort of bittersweet because everyone I’ve worked with on this show has gotten along real well since day one. Seven years later, we still make each other laugh every single day on set, take after take. I will miss going to work and hanging out with those guys every day. All good things come to an end. But we’ve got some great players on the show this year. Our cold opening with Marshawn Lynch is just awesome. We’ve got Rafi back. Seth Rogen came back. Ike Barinholtz is back as Frank “The Body” Gibiatti. We’re psyched about the plans for him.
I’ve wondered about this for a couple years now with the show. How do you balance the different styles that you have, between Jon Lajoie, Jason, Mark Duplass, Paul Scheer, Katie Asleton, and Nick Kroll? It seems like everyone brings different beats to the table. With all the different deliveries and approaches, it’d be hard for me not to break.
That’s what’s funny. When we break sometimes, you tell yourself don’t laugh, don’t laugh, don’t laugh. But that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to make you laugh at home, but we’re just not allowed to laugh while we’re doing this, which is very difficult. It’s a tough thing to do, especially when you have the perfect storm, which is a character like Rafi, who is completely reprehensible, a horrible human being with no boundaries or limitations, and you have a brilliant improviser like Jason, who is able to just say whatever wants and say the quickest, funniest thing that comes to his mind, it’s usually a devastatingly funny thing that makes everyone laugh.